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Three former Twitter executives are set to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
The hearing, titled “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story,” is an early show of how newly empowered Republicans in the House will wield their influence on tech issues. Many Republicans have long complained of what they see as bias toward conservatives in the content moderation policies of online platforms, which tech companies have consistently denied.
Still, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk, who clashed with the former executives testifying, has promised to restore free speech to the platform. Even so, some of his actions, like suspending some journalists’ accounts and a profile tracking his jet, have shown Musk too has lines in the sand on free speech.
Wednesday’s hearing features Twitter’s former chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, former deputy general counsel James Baker, former Twitter policy official Annika Collier Navaroli and former global head of trust and safety Yoel Roth.
The story the hearing’s title refers to is a 2020 New York Post article that claimed to find a “smoking gun” email related to President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The article was published shortly before Biden’s 2020 election to the highest office, which further inflamed tensions when Twitter and Facebook decided to limit the distribution of the article. Twitter took the extreme step of blocking links to the story, citing its hacked materials policy. Twitter’s then-CEO said the company’s approach was wrong and changed the policy, but many lawmakers’ trust was already broken.